isleomaniac

Worm Hatch #5

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5/11/19  Worm Hatch #5: Today I didn’t feel like going, walking out onto the marsh in the full hot sun.  So I took a nap, and then had an early steak dinner with double-dark chocolate gelato for dessert—that should get me in the mood I thought?  I arrived late which is unusual for me, and then took a slow amble instead of the usual forced march. Upon arrival at 4:15 there were 3 or 4 stripers already swirling.  An hour and a half later as I was about to leave, there were about 30 fish busting away at the spawning worms.  After I caught and released 27 fish, I made myself stop—the largest was 26-inches.  The bigger fish should arrive just in time for the late-May tide cycle.  Later, when I closed my eyes to go to sleep, all I saw was the vivid and animated vision of rise-form swirls dancing in my head. 

Worm Hatch Inspector

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It was a great book.  Glad to see you are out at it again and thanks for letting us know its started on the Cape.  Been trying to keep up with water temps in my local area still low 50 degree range right now.  The afternoon is much harder for me to get out with work and family so I have been more focused on early morning herring activity.  I think I will find 2-3 worm hatches this year though thanks to your book.  

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5/8/19 Worm Hatches #1 & #2:  After enduring many cloudy, cool and rainy days during early May, and then finally after two and a half precious sunny days, I expected to find the first worm hatch of the season.  Today, I had a pretty tight schedule.  I had a TU meeting at 7 pm, with our speaker Ben Carmichael, giving a talk on DIY Atlantic Salmon.  So I gave it a go to see if I could fit it all in, a nice challenge and problem to have.  The first location on my list was enjoyable because it was a new spot that I had wanted to check out for quite some time.  It was an easy walk in with just knee boots along the marsh at 4 pm and found spawning worms and stripers in an extreme backwater location with a brook leading into the back corner of a large salt pond.  The water was clear and clean with no mung. The water temperature was 68˚, and it was fun to catch 8 stripers there with no one else around.  Next, I had scheduled a consistently reliable location in a completely different estuary, that always started at 5:30, and it was closer to my meeting location—just 5 minutes away.  The water temp was the same there at 68˚, and stripers were active, so I put on my waders and gave it a go—conveniently right next to the road where I was parked.  I was happy catching another 4 fish here.  This backwater bay was so polluted, and brown colored, that I had to clean algae off the fly after every cast, so it was pointless to skip out on a meeting in these conditions.  So I made the meeting with extra time to spare.  Photos of my main fly The Woody's Whisker Worm, side and bottom view.  I will post a few more next time.  Recipe for this one is in the book.

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5/10/19 Worm Hatch #4: Today was cloudy and cool which usually has the effect of shutting down a hatch, especially if the water temperature goes below the threshold that the worms prefer.  My Buddy Tom was along looking forward to finding his first worm hatch.  So I took him to an isolated salt pond that had a lower threshold temperature range from 60 to 62˚.  Today’s water temperature measured out at 60˚, and borderline for a hatch.  We saw the first worm at 4:15, and it slowly grew into what I call a cool weather mini-hatch, that was confined to a small cove in the lee of the wind.  No stripers were active, only herring were taking worms.  I was using a 2-fly rig for a change, with one floating fly and another sinking fly dropper hanging 10” at the end of the fly line tied to the tag end of the 20lb leader loop.  We caught some herring on the sinking fly and one 24” striper, and then left and headed for the polluted backwater bay which was dead.  I will be experimenting with a 2-fly rig from now on, especially when the fish are hitting short or not hitting at all.  When they are hitting aggressively there is no need to use two, as you would be trying to haul in two fish at once.  The more hatches you find—easier said than done, the more you can experiment with different flies.  If you have trouble finding hatches, a box full of worm flies is of little use. 

This is the 2nd fly that I was using today, the Woody’s DNA Worm Fly, which is an easy tie.  I don’t use it much, but my two biggest fish (both 36”) were caught using it while dead drifting it deeper in the current.  The top wing and main ingredient is pink DNA frosty fish fiber, and the tail was colored with a black marker.  For the rib, you can use any pink combination you want, pink yarn, flash, etc.  For the throat I use pink fluoro fibre, or DNA, with a black thread head. 

Worm Hatch Inspector

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5/9/19 Worm Hatch #3: Today I was planning on a repeat performance at my new location.  Now with the third day of sun, the worms became active just after 4 pm.  My buddy Bill and I waited around for an hour for something to happen, with plenty of worms, but found no fish.  The stripers from yesterday, must have tanked up on worms and continued on their migration.  So I left for my backup location at the polluted backwater bay.  I arrived at 5:45 and saw that nothing was happening yet and so put on my waders and hoofed it out to a user friendly peninsula where I could back cast easily.  I had to slog through some muddy sections of shoreline, and then through a maze of phragmites.  By the time I reached the peninsula it was 6 pm, and the worms were just starting to appear, and stripers were beginning to swirl.  I caught 4 easy fish early in the hatch, then as time went on they were much harder to catch—the bass were spitting out the fly in a split second.  Eventually I was able to catch another 5 for a total of 9 for the evening, a decent outing.  There was less algae in this location, and there were perhaps about 40 stripers swirling away close to the salt marsh bank. 

Today’s fly posted below is the Page Rogers worm fly.  I tried it for the first time at the end of Hatch #5, and it worked really well—the fish hit it without hesitation.  So I want to try it again sometime, and especially when the fish are not hitting anything.  I will tie it on as the 2nd fly above my floating Whisker Worm, and try dead drifting it.  This is an easy tie but like the worm hatch there is some mystery to it.  A 2-1/2-inch piece once cut, will unravel easily.  There is a thread down the middle that holds the yarn together, so to hold it together you need to go through the tedious process of folding back the materials on either side of the thread, and coating the thread with 5-minute epoxy so it all stays together.  Also, this style of yarn is no longer made in the color of Paprika.  Lion Brand, Quick and Cozy, if you can find one on eBay, one roll should make about 700 flies, more than a lifetime supply.  Share with a buddy?  I coat the top of the hook shank with epoxy and then lay the string on the shank and let it dry, or carefully put a layer of super glue on the shank and some on the string and then it will stay together when tying.  I coat the tying thread with 5-minute epoxy before wrapping segments from the hook bend tying it off behind the eye of the hook.  I use a #2 long shank hook Mustad SS 4xl, so the hook is near the tail to help eliminate short hits and fouling.  To finish it off, just color the head and tail with a black marker

Worm Hatch Inspector

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Read the book and learned a lot. Going to look for 62 degree pond water tomorrow although local guru says hatch happened last week and is finished for the year.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Some salt ponds, bays, harbors etc have 3 or more hatches within its confines unless it is a small pond.  Early May, mid-May, and late May/early June, over 3 high tide cycles.  Mid-May look in middle of estuary, late-May/June, look closer to the source of cold water near the entrance.  The cool, cloudy, rainy spell dropped water temps down below 60.  So  lets say to 58, thursdays partial sunny day brings it up to 60, Fridays milky sun brings it up to 61, and today/saturdays full day of sun brings it up 4 or more degrees to 65+, especially in shallow muddy coves, mid estuary or backwaters.  In my area, high tide is at noon today, with a full moon, the delay in the backwaters is up to 2 hours, so high at 2pm, with an outgoing tide and a hatch that starts at 4pm.  The same conditions happened in 2014 (4 days of sun) and 2012 (2days of sun), with water temps of 66 and above.  However, not many locations start at 4pm.  You should have 3 or 4 locations that you can check to be successful.  Use binoculars, but you can see splashes to about 300 yards out on calm lee shores.  Mid-late May hatches should last over a period of 10 days or more especially with mild and sunny weather in the forecast.  Each individual hatch lasts 3 days unless there is overlap with other hatches as the water heats up further down the estuary. 

Edited by isleomaniac
explanations

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